Viljevo is a novel about memory, trauma and transcommunication: a triptych of different voices, weaving together historiography, speculative fiction and highly-stylised prose.
It opens with 'August', a monologue transcribed from a corrupt reel-to-reel tape, inviting readers into virtually uninhabited Slavonian plains. This poetic and fragmentary narrative, removed from any recognisable timeline, revolves around the themes of solitude and recollection, nature and technology, the final stages of decaying civilisations, as well as the possibility of transcommunication – contact with the 'beyond'.
'After Midnight' is a raw and intense document of such an attempt at channelling the unknown: a sequence of questions and answers between the characters of 'August' and their obscure counterparts. Reading as a strict interrogation, this section resolves certain ambiguities of the introductory monologue, while introducing new doubts about the basic framework of the story.
The final chapter, 'Marković', brings about a change of pace and context. Set in occupied Osijek in 1943 and written as part memoir, part painstakingly constructed (para)scientific article, it revolves around the activities of an illegal anti-fascist radio station. Mysterious technical difficulties that keep obstructing its work are gradually revealed, providing a captivating backdrop to the entire book: they offer a series of new explanations, ultimately leaving the final interpretation open.
Few Croatian writers are capable of handling genres so skillfully, of offering keys, which suggest the novel as thriller, science fiction, or horror at the same time, but Luka Bekavac does it only to mix them and to offer his readers a single keyhole: that to an excellent prose, which can lead anywhere.
Croatian Writers Society Prize Janko Polić Kamov 2014
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Award for Literature 2014
European Union Prize for Literature 2015
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